The other day I went to visit one of my favorite teachers from high school. He looked at me and gave me a hug and asked how I was doing, and he said, “How is your gestation going?”
Of course I expected this question. And I told him I was doing good, and he smiled and I could see that he was trying to look happy for me, but I could also see the worry in his eyes and the care he took in choosing his words.
“I’ve been keeping track of you on Facebook, just making sure you’re okay.”
“It seems like you have a strong family and friend support network, that’s really good. I’m happy to hear.”
“I’m sure you’re going to miss life up there at Tech, but you can always visit and maybe go back one day right?”
“You’re a very smart and sweet girl, I know you can succeed.”
These are all common questions and statements and I appreciate the concern, but it’s all just subtle ways of trying to comfort me and trying to comfort himself. I’ve been getting this from everyone.
Then he asked, “Do you remember the poem we read in class? ‘The Road Not Taken’?”
Of course I did.
“This is you taking the road less traveled by, and it will make all the difference, and it could be a good thing. Maybe it could be the best thing that’s ever happened.”
It was funny; he’s a very intelligent guy, I kind of anticipated he’d bring some form of poetry or history into the conversation at some point.
I loved that he did. I loved how he was trying to be encouraging and I loved that he smiled when he looked at me. But it’s all the same.
I have friends that look at me with smiles on their faces yet their eyes are downcast. I’ve heard, “You’re a very smart girl, you can do this” so many times that if I had a dollar for every time someone said it, I could send my kid to college. It’s come to the point where it almost feels like they’re not trying to reassure me as much as they’re trying to reassure themselves.
The other day I was having a conversation with my friend. He was talking about his college problems, then suddenly he goes, “Oh, I feel insensitive talking about my problems when yours are so much more severe.”
And I’ve gotten this multiple times! Friends talking about their problems, then looking at me and going, “Oh, but yeah I know you have things worse sorry for complaining.”
And it just kind of, you know, hurts.
I’m doing my best to be as happy and positive about this as I can. I know I’m a smart girl. I know I’m capable of raising this child at a young age and I know I will still live a good life. I know that I got problems, but it’s just kind of irritating when people bring them up all the time, especially the assumed severity of them.
“Yeah, college loans are killing me. But I know that’s nothing compared to the cost of a baby.”
“Yeah, I’m worried college isn’t working out. My grades were so bad I’m worried I’ll get on academic probation… Oh, but you had to drop out right? What will you do about school? I feel bad for talking about this when I’m still in school.”
God, talk about kicking someone while they’re down.
I love my friends. I love that they’re so supportive and caring. But I wish they’d stop looking at me and talking to me like I’m wounded, because sometimes they make me believe that I really am. And I am strong and I am fierce and I am brilliant, but I can only take so much with everyone beating me down, no matter how subtly it’s happening.
I know this is a hard situation, for everyone involved. No one ever saw this coming. None of my friends know anyone in a similar situation, so no one knows how to handle it. Everyone’s trying to tiptoe around me because they don’t want to risk stumbling over and falling on me and crushing my spirit.
What I want is for my friends to be genuinely happy for me. And I know that they’re supportive and I know that they love me and I know that they’ll do whatever they can to help, but I just don’t want these vibes of, “Watch what you say around her, you don’t want to kick her while she’s down.” Oh the irony.
All I want is for people to stop looking at me as if I’ve gone down the wrong path, when really I’ve just gone down the one different from their own.